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Appeals for international solidarity as Zelensky moves against Ukrainian left

UKRAINIAN leftists appealed for international solidarity yesterday as Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky moved to ban the activities of at least 11 leftist groups with “links to Russia.”

They include the Opposition Platform — For Life, the Socialist Party of Ukraine and the Union of Left Forces.

The Communist Party of Ukraine was banned by the Kiev government in 2015.

But many of the parties outlawed by Mr Zelensky in a move branded as unconstitutional are opponents of the Russian invasion.

Borotba is a leftist association founded in May 2011 by organisations including the Communist Party of Ukraine and its youth organisation, along with the All-Ukrainian Union of Workers.

Its supporters and activists have been targeted since war broke out on February 24, with the whereabouts of many unknown.

“The regime that has been in power [in Ukraine] since the 2014 coup is becoming more and more reactionary,” Borotba spokesman Alexey Albu said.

“Any healthy voice that opposes the war with Russia and the Donbass is being destroyed now,” he added, warning that many activists and politicians have disappeared over the past three weeks.

Mr Albu claimed that Ukrainian fascists cut the hair off Maria Marchenko after her husband Alexander was kidnapped from his house and accused of spying for Russia.

Others have simply been executed, the leftist said, including Volodomyr Struk, the pro-Russian mayor of the city of Kreminna in the self-declared republic of Lugansk, who was shot dead earlier this month.

The adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs described the 57-year old as “a traitor” who was killed by “unknown patriots” over his support for Moscow.

Many others remain missing, as “lists of unreliables” and “the wrong kind of leftists,” are reportedly being drawn up by so-called progressives.

Those advocating for adherence to the Minsk accords along with a peaceful resolution to the eight-year conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region were the first to be threatened, the New Socialism group said.

Communist Party of Ukraine youth leaders Mikhail and Aleksandr Kononovich were jailed earlier this month. It was feared they faced execution. 

International demands for their release have however been ignored by Kiev.

“We urge you not to close your eyes to what is happening,” Mr Albu said, as he appealed for international solidarity.

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